Sunday, 31 May 2015

Essential oils as antimicrobials in food systems – A review

Volume 54, August 2015, Pages 111–119


Many consumers are demanding foods without what they perceive as artificial and harmful chemicals, including many used as antimicrobials and preservatives in food. Consequently, interest in more natural, non-synthesized, antimicrobials as potential alternatives to conventional antimicrobials to extend shelf life and combat foodborne pathogens has heightened. Aromatic plants and their components have been examined as potential inhibitors of bacterial growth and most of their properties have been linked to essential oils and other secondary plant metabolites. Historically, essential oils from different sources have been widely promoted for their potential antimicrobial capabilities. In this review, mechanisms of antimicrobial action, and the antimicrobial properties of plant essential oils are discussed, including their mode of action, effectiveness, synergistic effects, major components and use in foods.


  • Natural antimicrobials;
  • Essential oils;
  • Foodborne pathogens

Corresponding author. Department of Food Science, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR 72704, USA. Tel.: +1 479 575 4678; fax: +1 479 575 6936.